Household Hacks

It’s Me-Me Monday again.  We all do stuff around the house to make our lives easier, less expensive, or more pleasant.  For some of us, these habits are so ingrained we’re not aware of  them.

Today, I’m going to ask you to dig these hacks out of your subconscious to share with the rest of us.   I’ll share a couple of things I do.  I hope you’ll be inspired to share a few of your household secrets.

Cheap Household Cleaner:

What you need for this project:

32 oz. spray bottle
Tap Water

I mix up a weak ammonia and water solution to clean my counters, tubs, toilets, mirrors and anything else that needs cleaning.  I start with decent spray bottle.

Sprayco makes the best spray bottle I’ve ever purchased.  Visit their website here.  Walmart used to carry these sprayers, but I haven’t seen them there in a while.  At any rate, I start with a quality 32 ounce spray bottle.

The next item on the list is pure ammonia.  It usually costs less than $2.  Ammonia can be found on the same aisle as the other household cleaners.

*Use the same amount of caution with ammonia that you use with other household cleaners.  Ammonia is toxic if ingested…but so are most other household cleaners. 

The only other thing you need is tap water.  I use a very small amount of ammonia.  I’m talking less than 1/8 cup to approximately 30 ounces of water.  Too much ammonia will create something so strongly odored you can’t use it.

This solution will make your mirrors streak free, shine up your stainless steel appliances and much more.  It costs pennies compared to store bought cleaners.  Read more about ammonia as a safe cleaning agent here.

Freezing Casseroles:

What you need for this project:

Casserole dish
Aluminum foil
Non-stick Cooking Spray
Plastic freezer bags

Most casseroles make enough food to feed an army.  We eat two vegetable sides with each meal, so that makes the casserole go even further.  Leftovers are okay, but all the time?  Please.  With a little extra effort, casseroles can be frozen into meal-sized portions.

First, determine the “perfect” size for your family.  This 1 1/2 quart sized Corning Ware dish holds enough casserole for two meals.  I usually use two–but sometimes three–of these dishes per casserole I freeze.

Next, you need non-stick cooking spray and aluminum foil.  The store brand of both is fine.  Spray your casserole dish with cooking spray.

Line the dish with aluminum foil.  Leave enough foil overhang to lift the casserole out of the dish once it’s frozen.  Spray the foil with non-stick cooking spray.

Arrange the casserole in the dish.  This is where the extra work comes in.  If you’re making one of those layered casseroles, you’ll be doing the layering multiple times.

*If the casserole is topped with cheese, I freeze it without the cheese.  It can be added prior to cooking.  For some reason, the cheese on top doesn’t taste quite right after it’s been frozen.  If the casserole has cheese mixed in it, I go ahead and add the cheese.  It usually tastes okay.  

If all the ingredients in the casserole are cooked (i.e., none of them are raw meat), I freeze the casserole immediately.  If you’re not comfortable doing this, cook the casserole as directed, cool to room temperature and freeze.

Once the casseroles are frozen, lift them out of the dishes.

* Sometimes this takes a little coaxing.  Usually ten minutes on the counter does the trick.  If not, try running a little hot water in the sink and set the casserole dish in the water for just a few minutes.

Wrap the excess foil around the frozen brick of casserole.  Put the casseroles in freezer bags and label them with the name of the casserole and the date.  Stow them in the freezer until you’re ready to eat them.  It is recommended that frozen casseroles be eaten within two months of freezing.


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